Underbelly Exposed

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My daughter wasn’t one to pull punches. Photo by Quentin Keller on Unsplash

As predicted before the end of the week was out, Walter tried to take money out of the account. It got him arrested. From there the drama jumped to the level of daytime soap opera. The phone rang and when I answered it I was greeted by a tirade.

“You got me arrested. You bitch. Don’t think for one second I will not make you pay. I’m going to take the kids and you are never getting them back,” yelled Walter.

“Actually you’re blaming the wrong bitch for getting you arrested. It was me I blocked you from taking mine and Shane’s money and doing goodness knows what with it. I told them to call the police if you tried to take out our money again.”

Silence took over the line. After a while, the question came. “Who is this?”

“The daughter you want to take from her mother. The daughter you ignored most of her life. The daughter you taught by your every action that all men who create a child are not fathers. The daughter who’s life you want to ruin by trying to keep her away from a full scholarship so you can steal her money.”

“What scholarship?” he asked a shock.

“The daughter you obviously know nothing about. You are not taking me or my brother, so we’ll see you in court.” Kylie slammed down the phone.

“What she said,” replied Lindsay and put down the phone.

My baby has shot the cannonball at his chest. She bounced into the sitting room where I had been relaxing waving her phone.

“I got it all on tape. We’ve got the rat bag now,” she said with glee. “I’m going to send this to dad.” She quickly sent the recording off to Mr. Divine then skipped back into the bedroom.

Mr. Divine called me several minutes later. “That child is scary. She has no fear.”

“You’re telling me,” Lindsay murmured.

“I sent it to the lawyer,” said Mr. Divine. “He is pushing for a court date so hopefully this helps.”

“Fingers crossed,” I said.

“I’ll be home in about an hour or so,” he said. “Love you baby.”

“I love you too,” I replied then ended the call.

Sitting back in the chair Lindsay considered her life as it was right know. Slightly complicated but she was loved and truly happy. To her, that was all that mattered. From her spot on the couch, Lindsay could hear the children talking and laughing. This was the life she dreamed of and now she had it, no one was taking it away. Walter better watch his back.

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Bank Business

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My daughter is about to check her phone until she realized she didn’t know about an account at this bank.  Photo by Alvaro Reyes on Unsplash

My daughter demanded to know how my Ex got his hands on her and her brother’s money and as she peppered the manager with questions I could tell the man was not used to such a forceful and determined young person.

“Have the papers been filed against him?” she asked our lawyer.

“Yes,” he replied.

“Are we using this or are we going to nail him?” she asked to everyone’s shock.

“What?” Kylie queried when she saw the look on our faces. “I understand the concept of leverage as well as the next person but no matter what you do make sure you get back our money.”

Shane had been going through the bank statements with a highlighter when he nudged his sister and pointed to something. He took a red pen and placed an asterisk next to it then got his sister’s phone and took a picture.

“May I kindly speak to her, please? Knowing my father, I assume there is a ‘her’ he manipulated to get access to our accounts.”

The manager called in the woman.

“Do you consent to have this conversation recorded?” asked my daughter putting her phone in the middle of the table.

The woman hesitated and then slowly noted. “A verbal answer is required,” my daughter explained.

“Yes,” replied the woman.

My daughter pushed some papers across the desk to her. “Please state your name and tell me if this is your signature on this document?” directed Kylie.

“My name is Teresa Mayers and yes this is my signature.”

My daughter went on. “Can you please explain what this form is for and how it came to be added to these accounts?”

“It is a form that allows the named person, in this case, Walter Haynes, full access to the account. Why, because he wanted to be able to better manage to money on the account.”

“What about the persons whose names were on the accounts? Couldn’t they manage the money themselves?”

“He said his children were minors and his wife was a heavy spender. He was afraid she would drain the accounts.”

Kylie pushed another set of papers forward. “Can you see a single withdrawal on this account? When you see the first withdrawal, please state the date.”

She stated them for both accounts. Kylie pointed to the paperwork to access the account.

“How soon after access was granted did the removal of monies happened?”

The bank teller replied. “One week.”

“Who did the withdrawals?” asked Kylie.

“The person who signed the form Walter Haynes. Why are you asking me these questions? You are minor.”

“It’s my money you gave that man access to. My money he has been spending on goodness knows what. So I can ask as many questions as I please. But last question. Did you call the owners of the account or the person in charge of the account to verify the validity of the letter?”

The bank teller looked puzzled. “No. It was signed and dated.”

“Correction,” said Kylie. “The signature is a forgery.” The woman’s eyes popped open.

“My mother would never have signed this letter. Plus, when this was written, we were all in the US looking at universities. I’ve not spoken to my father in almost three or four years why would I want him managing my money?”

The bank teller shrugged, unable to reply. “I want his authorization revoked and a flag put on the account so that the next time he comes in to make a withdrawal, the police are called. I’m done playing games,” said Kylie.

“What do we need to sign to make it happened?” Kylie leaned back in the chair, waiting.

The manager started to get the necessary paperwork and placed the needed blocks on the account so no withdrawals could be made until the children were each twenty-one or older.

“Rental property?” asked Shane to Mr. Divine.

Mr. divine looked at the balances of both accounts.

“By twenty-one, if the market is right. It’s more than possible.”

“Sweet,” said Shane with glee.

Lindsay looked at her daughter going over paperwork and asking questions when she didn’t understand. Kylie’s maturity never ceased to fill her with awe. Her instincts told her this situation with Walter would be reaching a tipping point by the end of the next two to three weeks. During that time things would get really heated and she needed to have her fire extinguisher ready.

 

Storm Winds

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The signature was not mine. Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

When I saw the paperwork had a forgery of my signature I was livid. I took out both my ID and drivers license and slapped them onto the table. “That is my signature.”

I pointed to the letter. “There is no way I would give that man consent to have access to my children’s money.”

“But if something happened to you?” stated the manager. “The father…”

“Has no right to access that money,” I interjected.

“My daughter and son understand how money works even better than me. They both have investment accounts that they manage themselves with only minor advice from my husband, so there is no way they would let their father use their money.”

“If they find out about this but things are going to get nasty,” murmured my husband.

“As it is their accounts. Especially the sixteen-year-old, they should know,” said the manager.

“That girl is worse than our lawyer. She will fight until she gets back her money and he goes to jail.”

“Her own father?” asked the manager in shock.

“He is trying to block us from taking them away to live and my daughter has a full scholarship. She is livid. If she finds out about this,” Mr. Divine laughed and shook his head.

“She gives me the shivers,” said our lawyer. “Told me to fix this, ‘meaning the custody battle’ then walked away like she hadn’t just threatened me but had asked me if I wanted a glass of ice tea.”

“I’m sorry, but as it is their account they must be here.”

“Just remember you were warned,” stated my husband and took out his phone.

“Honey, are you finished with the broker?”

Whatever our daughter said had my husband laughing. “Then come to the bank with your brother when you’re done. We have a little issue.”

Mr. Divine refused to go into details despite being pressed and that alone would speed up my daughter’s arrival.

They called to say they were downstairs fifteen minutes later and I went to get them.

“Hey mom. What’s up?” asked Lindsey

“How was the broker?” I asked, determined to distract her.

Her words as we entered the room made the bank manager’s head snapped up. “I just got another five thousand rolling for both Shane and I. Would you imagine he wanted to tell me to get bonds. I told him I’d reached my yearly cap. Let him go home and think about that. As if.”

“You should have seen the guy’s face mom,” said my son with a laugh.

“So what is going on?” Kylie asked assessing the room. “If the lawyer is here it’s big.”

The manager cleared his throat. “It has been brought to our attention that your father has been removing money from your account.”

“What account? I monitor my account like a hawk. Mine and my brother’s.”

Kylie went for her phone, then paused. “Wait a minute, I don’t know about any accounts at this bank.”

She looked at us, waiting for an explanation.

“Your grandmother started these accounts for both you and Shane and I put money in them all the time. The plan is you don’t access it until you are twenty-one or twenty-five. This is the account your father has been deposited money into for you since the separation, then divorce. It seems somehow he has gained access and has been withdrawing the money.”

“Then send the police for him because we want our money back and him, gone.”

“I told you,” said Mr. Divine to the bank manager with a smug smile.

 

Business Boost

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I always make sure I put in the work to get my business right. Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

For the last few days, Mr. Divine and I have been talking back and forth about what I want I want to do which my business. Well maybe do is to vague a reference. It was more about what we are trying to accomplish while I tried to develop new, solid business ideas to strengthen and possibly expand the business.

Since it started, the business has been getting steady calls to take groups on various types of hikes. Due to the fact we traveled quite a bit this year I hired another staff member of staff so I could have an extra person to keep on top of office work and make sure everything was running smoothly. By making that hire, things got better organised and we were able to add a few more hikes to our schedule. Now its time to see what else was possible.

“Okay,” I murmured as we sat down to talk one morning while the children were out visiting friends. “The company has a solid handle on the hikes. It’s now to consider what we can add to make things more interesting. I was thinking to add some other outdoor activities to our hikes, maybe by teaming up with some other companies.

“I love the idea of more outdoor activities but my worry is the other companies. Finding the right ones to work with is the hard part. Your company has a top rep. One wrong move by working with the wrong company and that could ruin you.”

“So we do intense research to make sure whoever we do work with has the values we agree with,” countered Lindsay.

Mr. Divine smiled. “Okay. What do you think is the best to add to the hikes?”

“From just doing some basic research I’ve been thinking of some related things like paddle boarding, scuba diving. Maybe some horseback riding. I also remember coming across a place that does zip lining.”

Mr. Divine nodded. “These are good additions. What do you think about adding a photography focused hike?”

“That sounds super interesting. In fact, I think it is something I would love to add to the business. But how?”

“I think we can do it the same way we do the hikes now but put more emphasis on stopping at key points to take pictures. You have to get your skills up with the camera showcase what elements they can discover. It would be a good way to draw their interest.”

“We will get all these things to come together and it would be a brilliant new addition to the business.”

I smiled as joy filled every inch of my being.

“Time to go out and figure out the best companies to collaborate with dear. Time to have some fun.

Money Lessons

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I had so much to learn about money and how to make it work for me. Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

I came home from visiting Noel to find everyone in the kitchen cooking. We got to talking and after I told them about the incident that happened while I was as Noel’s. It prompted a lesson about money and how to make it work for you. The conversation had the children’s full attention and when we sat down to dinner that was when the back and forth started.

As we settled down to dinner we continued to talk.

“So dad, explain how you made your money work for you?” urged Shane as we sat down.

“Well they are several methods,” he stated to tell us. “ Some low risk, some middle risk and others insanely high risk.”

“Which ones do you use?” asked Kyla as she poured salad cream dressing over her veggies.

Mr. Divine laughed. “All of them.”

Kyla smiled at his comment.

“I rotate my money between stock market investments, high yield accounts, money market and treasury bonds. I set money into fixed, high-interest accounts in cycles or fixed deposits.”

The kids looked at Mr. Divine confused as they waited for more of an explanation.

“So I have a business from which I get a monthly salary. From that, I established a budget. What I need to send each month to pay bills and survive and a little fun money. Then I have the money I plan to save and use for investment. I also have an emergency fund.”

As we ate he explained more. “For me, a cycle is every three months. I take the money I saved over three months then divide it into sections and invest it. Some I put into investments that mature in five years. Others go into the money market, another set into the stock market.”

The children sat there listening, and I could see Kyla had on her thinking face.

After Mr. Divine paused she started with the questions.

“So you have your investments set up that after the initial investment period you get a lump sum coming at you every three months. You can then re-invest it as is when it matures or add on money that you set aside to invest.”

Mr. Divine laughed in delight. “And you, my dear, are thinking like a successful business person.

We spent the rest of the night talking about investing and investments. How to manage them. The risks of the stock market. Making smart investments. Overextending yourself. It was an educational night. Not just for the children but for me as well.

The next day I dragged Mr. Divine with me to the bank. We looked at my account and the children’s accounts. Next, we removed three-quarters of the money from each account and make our way to the credit union and investment broker. It was time to make our money work for us.

Money Madness

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Talking over dinner.

When I got home from my visit with Noel, I found Mr. Divine in the kitchen cooking dinner with the kids. From the looks of it, we are going to having some type of stir fry chicken with baked sweet potato with salad.

“How was your day, honey?” asked Mr. Divine as he stirred the pan on the fire.

“It was good. In fact, the best word for it would be interesting.”

He paused mid-stir. “What happened?”

“Well, while we were talking Noel got her bank statement in the mail and that was when the drama got epic.”

“Over her bank statement?” said Mr. Divine. “What did they do?”

“Had five dollars extra in the maintenance fee charged to her account. Then when she finally found a number of calls on one would answer. She had to press the extension for wealth management to get an answer.”

Mr. Divine’s jaw dropped. “Yikes. That’s….unheard of.”

The children watched us, listening to my explanation of what happened. As I continued the story I could see Mr. Divine becoming very disturbed by what he was hearing.

“That sounds insane. When I call the bank I never have that problem.”

“And I bet your account is under business or wealth management and you have a specific person you talk to about your account. Someone who knows you and sees to your every need.,” I said as I climbed onto the stool in front of the bar top that extended from the countertop.

He nodded as he mixed the pasta into the chicken and veggies he had stir-fried. “I see what mean.”

“So what’s the huge difference,” asked Kyla as she cut vegetables for a salad. Shane handed her the leaves of lettuce he had washed and continued on to the other veggies and fruits he had on the counter close to him.

“The way bank staff deals with you basically. Your dad has a direct line to someone in the bank and they scramble to help him but when most of us call the bank its a different story. We have to hunt for a number firstly. Then we call and call but no one answers the phone.”

Kyla looked at me shocked. “Really!”

“Sadly yes,” I replied. “That why Noel is so against banks. Nowadays its fees, fees and more fees and little or no service.”

“So what can you do?” Shane dried his hands and moved to stand next to Kyla while he asked the question.

“It’s about being very strategic with your money. Making it work for you,” said Mr. Divine.

The kids looked at us confused. “What does that mean?”

Bank Battle

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Noel going to battle with the bank over the phone. Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

I watched Noel as she called the bank number she found in the telephone directory for what seemed like the tenth time. After the fifth call, Noel put each subsequent call on speaker for me to hear. She pressed various extensions to try to speak to someone but the phone just kept ringing.

“Now tell me if this is right. They take my money for the slightest thing but I can’t get anyone to answer the phone.”

“That is just wrong,” I reply as the phone just kept ringing in the background.

“I have an idea,” said Noel. She quickly dialed the number for the bank again but this time when the recording came on she pressed another extension number. After two rings there was an answer.

“Wealth management. How may I assist you?”

My mouth dropped open and Noel flashed me a huge smile. Then to my shock, she started speaking with a thick English accent.

“So, for me to speak to someone I must be wealthy because I’ve been calling the number for this bank more than fifteen times in the past thirty minutes. I’ve pressed every extension trying to get someone and this is the first time someone has answered the phone.”

The bank worker started to do the usual spiel, apologising. Seeing how she was sorry this And that while Noel in her thick English accent let her have it. I was hard-pressed not to laugh at the exchange I was hearing but by that time she was done, I fully understood her displeasure with the bank.

The person Noel got on the phone was at a totally different branch from where she banked and she needed to be transferred. Again I listened and all my head kept screaming was that the woman on the other end of the call was telling lies. As far as I was concerned each bank worker we encountered so far displayed massive content, like how dear we call them to complain. Even though they talked a good roll, it became obvious it was nothing but rehearsed words. By the time Noel got off the phone she still hadn’t gotten her problem fixed.

“No, my real question is why do I need a bank because as far as I’m concerned they do nothing for me. All they do do is take my money. I’m over it. It’s time to find a better way to operate,” said Noel.

“You have a good point,” I said nodding my head. “I’ll have a little chat with my hubby see what he says.”

“He’s rich. A businessman. Banks approach him differently. It’s just Joe-public who has to worry nowadays. They are raping us and not even hiding their faces when they do it. Protect your money Lindsay. Get it out of the bank.”

“I’ll talk to Mr. Divine.” I assured her.

After that drama, we went back to talking about random stuff having a good time but what Noel said why still on my mind. I was going to talk to Mr. Divine for sure. This was going to get interesting.

Bank On That

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Never a boring moment with my friend, Noel. Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

I went to visit my friend Noel after I came back from my trip to Europe to just relax and catch up on how things were going. While we were sitting there, her mail came in and I speak talk she opened the letters. When she ripped open the last one her growl of frustration filled the room.

“These people get on my last nerve,” said Noel as she waved the letter in her hand from side to side.

“What’s the matter?” I asked and she pushed what I soon realized the bank statement towards me.

“Look at that,” she said pointing to a particular line on her statement. What she was showing me was the line that said maintenance fees and the corresponding entry that said twenty dollars. After I read it my eyes widened.

“What? Why so much?” I asked looking at what she was showing me. “What bank is this?”

She pointed to the letterhead.

“I don’t bank with them, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I had similar fees on my statement. Those banks. When one starts something the other quickly follows.”

“My question is what is the point of the bank nowadays? In the olden days you at least used to get a bit of interest from them, but nowadays if you if you get two cents added to your hundred dollars it’s a miracle.”

I laughed. “It’s not funny,” I said as I tried to hold in my laughter. I took a deep breath. “In fact, it is sad how true it is.”

“It’s so bad that they don’t even have the branch’s telephone number on the correspondence.”

“Yeah. I noticed that on my correspondence as well. Also, the fastest thing they can tell you is to go online.”

“One minute! They charged me twenty dollars. I only went to the bank three times. They owe five dollars. I’m going to call them now and sort that out.”

The fire was in Noel’s eyes. It was on now.